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One Hundred Million Workers Set to Strike in India
by Steven Argue
Tuesday Feb 19th, 2013 2:38 PM
[Photo: Hyderbad, India: participants in India's largest-ever general strike in February 2012. The strike on Wednesday and Thursday is projected to be bigger.]
india_general_strike_1.jpg
india_general_strike_1.jpg

General Strike Called in India for February 20 - 21

With all 11 central trade unions participating, the working class of India will strike for 48 hours at the end of this week. One hundred million workers are expected to strike. Various professionals are joining as well. This is expected to be the largest strike in India's history. Tens of millions of workers participated in a similar one day general strike last February 2012.

This strike has been called against the anti-worker policies of the governing coalition called the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Congress Party. Workers' demands against the UPA government include:

* Raise the National Minimum Wage to 10,000 Rupees! (The current minimum wage is between 5500 and 6500 rupees, depending on the state and the industry.)

* Secure Pensions For All!

* National Social Security For Unorganized Workers!

* End Delays in Registering Trade Unions!

* End Outsourcing and Subcontracting of Permanent Work!

Revolutionaries and unionists around the world should support this strike and its demands. It is, however, painfully clear that it will take much more than a two day strike to bring about major changes for India's working class. High stakes are involved for both sides. To force the Indian capitalist government to give in to working class demands, workers must attempt to strike until the government gives in to their demands. Unfortunately, the reformist leftist parties and right-wing reactionary parties in the leadership of India's trade unions, who have been voted out of India's current government, are more interested in pressuring and embarrassing the UPA government than they are of leading an effective militant struggle of labor.

What has also been clear is that the major reformist parties of India, in power, have been completely unable to deliver on the needs of the working class and poor peasantry. This is because these various reformist Stalinist (USSR line) and Maoist currents lack a revolutionary program. Groups like the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI(M)) in power have no program for the overthrow of capitalism. Without such a program, they become defenders of the capitalist state, to the point of doing their dirty work. In fact, the CPI(M) razed the village of Nandigram to silence opposition to the industrial giant Tata Motors, killing 14 and injuring 200.

Like the ANC's "leftist" capitalist government in South Africa that massacred 34 striking mine workers in August 2012 at the Marikana mine on behalf of international mining corporations, the Nandigram massacre in India points to the bankruptcy of reformist leftist politics in power. This is because one of two classes rule society, the workers or the capitalists. Capitalist rule can only be broken through the workers party, once in power, taking rapid steps for the expropriation of capitalist ownership in the economy and smashing the capitalist state through proletarian revolution; establishing a planned socialist economy and workers' democracy. Instead, the ANC and CPI(M) programs make them the errand boys of the national bourgeoisie and international imperialists.

The dominating reformist Stalinist and Maoist parties within the leadership of the Indian working class must be rejected in favor of a revolutionary socialist program. A major step will be the establishment of a revolutionary workers party built on the program of Lenin and Trotsky; a party ready to advocate the fighting working class program the Indian working class needs to win.

All Out in India For The February General Strike!!!
Workers of the World Unite!!!
International Solidarity to the Indian General Strike!!!

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Also from this author, see:

Court Rules Against Workers in Wisconsin!
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/18/18730453.php

As Phony "Fiscal Crisis" is used to Attack Workers, Effective Fight-Back Needed!
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/20/18730579.php

Why The Russian Revolution is Still Important
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/03/03/18708611.php
§News on Strike
by Steven Argue Wednesday Feb 20th, 2013 8:27 AM
Today, the largest strike in world history is taking place in India, but it is getting very little coverage in the corporate press. It was estimated by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday that the strike will cause 150 billion to 200 billion rupees in losses ($2.8 billion-$3.8 billion). From what I've been able to read in the India corporate press, banks and transportation have been shut down, with even non-union workers joining the strike. The strike is surely wider than this, but that is what the India Times covered. Also, a trade union leader was run over and killed by a scab bus driver, causing clashes. There have been some scuffles with the police and police cars were destroyed. The New York Times has no coverage. Reuters quoted Amitabh Prabhakar, a public relations officer for Indian Railways' saying, "Protesters are squatting on the railway tracks or capturing the locomotives. We're just helpless."

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Gerald.
Thursday Feb 21st, 2013 3:14 AM
Biggest strike wave in Indian history, but BLACKED from the major media in Britain, whilst Cameron, the British prime minister of 'her majesty's government, is on the largest ever trade mission.
In India the government, though a coalition, is still dominated by the British founded Congress party, 1880 following a request to found/start a political party by one of the British staff, agreed to by the British state. In the minutes of the Congress party, between 1880 and 1885, an agreement was drawn up for the Partition of India and all recorded, no Muslims were ever involved.
Now millions of Indians, of all religions join in opposition to the Congress party...
In Britain, it was seen historically, the development of the union movement, the Chartist movement, the Labour movement, and from them eventually came a political party, such is the dialectic of history, first the movement then the party.....
But in India the British empire applied complete backwardness, first the Congress party, then, when they needed it to hold back and divert opposition to the 'Raj', they built the Ghandi led 'congress movement''...
But now both the Congress party and the movement is vastly diminishing, Ghandi's memory is already now in the dustbin of history, only the British and some of the Hindu leaders, all based on capitalist exploitation, still 'revere' their 'holy saint', even if he's no more now than a dead clown with clay feet.
A strike is not enough, political action is also needed, political groups and the unions, should also call for a trade embargo against the British state, and also a mass boycott of all British commodities throughout India. As the 'Raj' built the Congress party, so should all Indians oppose the British state's 'milking of the Indian economy as if it a 'holy cow'', as well as the Congress party.
by Steven Argue
Saturday Feb 23rd, 2013 8:41 AM
There have been some disagreement with my criticisms in this article of the Maoists in India as being reformist. Here is a short response I wrote:

The CPI(Maoist), adivasi people, and their armed uprising should be defended from the brutal repression of the Indian government.

Yet, the political strategy of the CPI (Maoist) provides no long term solution for India’s oppressed masses. Like other Stalinist parties in India, the Maoists seek an alliance with a mythical “progressive” wing of the capitalist class in the first supposed stage of a "two-stage" revolution. Party general secretary Ganapathy doesn't hide this flawed program:

“We have a clear-cut understanding to unify all revolutionary, democratic, progressive, patriotic forces and all oppressed social communities including oppressed nationalities against imperialism, feudalism and comprador bureaucratic capitalism. Our New Democratic United Front (UF) consists of four democratic classes, i.e. workers, peasants, urban petty-bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie.”
—Sanhati, January 2010

Yet, as all of history has shown, and as the program of Lenin and Trotsky points out, that national bourgeoisie is a deadly enemy of proletarian liberation. Far from being allies, the national bourgeoisie is in league with imperialism. Far from being a class to bring into the revolutionary government, they are the primary class that needs to be overthrown.

The same Maoist perspective in Nepal recently led to the betrayal of that revolution. Through great sacrifice of Nepal's fighting peasants, the Nepalese Maoists had seized 80% of the country, sized land and factories, legalized the languages of oppressed nationalities, and made great strides towards women's liberation. Yet, in 2006, the Nepalese Maoists gave all of that back as price of admission into the capitalist government of Nepal, giving back seized land and factories and dismantling the People’s Liberation Army, the "people’s courts”, and “people’s committees”.

Like the CPI(Marxist), the CPI(Maoist) has a fundamentally reformist program that does not offer the road to the liberation of the oppressed Indian workers and peasants. That road forward can only be forged on the program of Lenin and Trotsky, written by Trotsky in "Results and Prospects" and adopted by Lenin in the "April Thesis". This is a program that recognized that the era of a "progressive" bourgeoisie was over and opposed all two stage theories of revolution, calling for the immediate overthrow of the capitalist class, capitalist state, and of capitalism system itself.